(Caleb Zadok Adiga)
24th August 2011
Society is defined by Britannica dictionary as a group of persons formally joined together for some common interest or human beings in general while Culture is defined as a high level taste and enlightenment as a result of extensive intellectual training and exposure to the arts because of its wide reputation as a place of culture. Reading means activity characterized by the translation of symbolic or letters into words and sentences that have meaning to the individual. Reading is a vital intellectual exercise in our lives as individuals, but looking at our society today, you would agree with me that it is fast eroding with time. Somebody once said, “If you want to hide a secret from a black man, put it in a book.” Going by what is happening is our society today this saying is true even though I must admit that it is fast changing even though there are still so many people left behind. From our primary school education days to secondary school and even tertiary institutions, students hardly read, there are cases where students from primary school proceed to secondary school, but can hardly read. We have graduates today who graduated from our universities, yet can’t even defend their certificates, you can’t see any evidence of schooling in them due to their behaviours and that is owing to the fact that most people have not developed what is called reading culture. Reading I believe polishes us, transforms and makes us to stand out; but sadly, many shy away from reading, while others only read to pass their exams and once that is done, they will have nothing to do with books any longer. This attitude is unhealthy for our society today as we are in a complex and competitive society. You even have to be educated enough to compete with others in your line of profession. Whenever I am in a conversation with people, from their comments I know where to place them. For us to forge ahead as a society, we must, I say we must develop a reading culture as this is the only way out. Books comprise of experiences of others, it contains their pitfalls in life and their steps to success. It gives us direction in life. Where we have never been, those have been there writes their own experiences for us to have a glimpse of what they pass through and how to avoid any pitfall as the case may be. Our government too is doing little or nothing about it at all. They have their own priorities; the politicians hardly consider education in their priority, it only exists in their manifestos without any result instead, they would like to capitalize on the ignorance of the people to enslave them and to use some as political tugs. Our libraries are becoming virtually empty with no materials; we hardly visit the libraries because there are usually unattractive. With the advent of internet, you would think that our libraries would or rather should have been adequately equipped to enable students and any person interested in reading to be able to visit such places to browse, check materials to equipped themselves but to our dismay, politicians are busy sharing money without thinking about the grave implications. Of course, what do you expect? Their children don’t school in public schools, they usually study abroad where responsible government who knew what is best for their own people implanted these policies to make their people grow and to go with the times. Those whose children don’t study abroad are in private schools where there are enough facilities so they don’t care. This is a clarion call to all and to our politicians to kindly give reading culture a chance by equipping our libraries with enough materials to make our society a competitive one. And I would like to call on all and sundry especially for those who have not seen the need for reading to please cultivate the habit of reading, let it be part of us for it will shape our lives and impact positively on us. Finally, let us know that we are nowhere without reading culture as I have observed that it is fast eroding us with time and if nothing is done about it we would be nowhere as I earlier stated and our society will face both moral and intellectual decadence.